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Today, Mailer would have turned 91. His last novel, The Castle in the Forest, was as complicated as its author. Few things say “dangerous writing territory” like a story about Hitler’s childhood. And yet Castle received the best critical reviews of Mailer’s career since Executioner. Publishers Weekly gave it a starred review, concluding that, “Mailer arrives at a somber, compelling portrait…

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Why did Norman Mailer write novels?

Why did Norman Mailer write novels? Allen Barra writes, Somebody – Octavio Paz, Robert Frost, I don’t know who but somebody – said that “Literature is journalism that stays journalism.” I’ve always taken it to mean that writing that truly reflects its time stays fresh and relevant. Whatever it does mean, I thought of it…